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Should I continue taking Vitamin C?

This content was current as of the date it was released. In science and medicine, information is constantly changing and may become out-of-date as new data emerge.

Ask the Doctor Question:

In the early Stages of the COVID epidemic, my doctor suggested I supplement my diet with Vitamin C, along with masking, social distancing, etc. Recently, in some of the CLL groups, I have been seeing that Vitamin C can make CLL worse. However, I see a lot of things in these groups, so not sure what is based on good data. I am running low on Vitamin C and wondering if I should continue or discontinue. I don’t see my local oncologist (who recommended the Vitamin C) until August.

Answer: We are not aware of any data indicating Vitamin C supplementation can make CLL worse. And yes, Vitamin C has for a long time been consumed as an antioxidant supplement to give an added level of immune protection against viruses, assist with wound healing, cardiovascular health, and even for cancer prevention.

Those in the groups who are discussing this topic may be confusing that Vitamin C shouldn’t be taken when CLL patients are prescribed certain oral targeted therapies for treatment of their disease. (For example, Vitamin C supplements can potentially interact with drugs like ibrutinib and venetoclax and affect their potency.) If your oncologist recommended it, you should continue the prescribed Vitamin C regimen until told otherwise.